Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

What is a sole representative of an overseas business visa?

If you are a senior employee of an overseas business and would like to come to the UK to set up and run a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that business, you may be able to make an application for a sole representative of an overseas business visa.

If your application for a sole representative visa is approved, you will be given permission to enter and remain in the UK for up to 3 years initially.  Beyond this, you will need to submit a further application for leave to remain, which would be valid for 2 years. After 5 years in the UK in the sole representative visa category, you may be granted permission to remain in the UK permanently. This is on the condition that have remained in the UK as a senior employee of the same business throughout the 5 years, and that the branch or subsidiary established in the UK continues to operate.

Who can be granted a sole representative visa?

If you would like to apply for a sole representative visa, you must:

  • have been recruited and employed outside the UK;
  • intend to work full-time for your current employer once you are in the UK;
  • be a senior employee of the overseas business; and
  • have full authority to make operational decisions on behalf of the business.

You must not:

  • intend to undertake any other employment;
  • be a majority shareholder of your employer’s business;

At the same time, your employer must:

  • have its business headquarters and principal place of business outside of the UK;
  • have no active branch, subsidiary or other representative of the business in the UK;
  • intend to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business;
  • intend for the registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary to operate in the same kind of business activity as the overseas business.

There is no requirement for the overseas parent company to have established any legal entity or have premises in the UK at the point of application.  However, where it has, it must not have transacted business in the UK. The business also cannot have any employees in the UK, although it can have used agents, such as distributors, in the UK previously.

Can a sole representative visa holder bring family members to the UK?

It is possible to bring dependents, such as a spouse and/or children under the age of 18, with you to the UK. However you will need to show that you have enough money to maintain and accommodate yourselves in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Are there any additional requirements for a sole representative visa?

You will also need to show that you have met an English language requirement. If you are a national of a majority English speaking country or already hold a qualifying degree, you will, subject to providing the necessary evidence,  fulfil this requirement. If this is not the case, you will need to pass an approved English language test prior to applying for a sole representative visa.

Contact our Sole Representative Visa Advice Lawyers

For advice and assistance with an application for entry clearance, extension of stay or settlement as the sole representative of an overseas business, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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